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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

composed from Soviet international troops, many of whom had fought
in the Spanish War.
By 1943, the German invader was forced to admit that he had been
unable to subjugate Poland to the same extent as he had those countries
in Western Europe, where German transports were moving freely without
escorts and isolated German officials and soldiers could work and travel
in safety.    The troops of the Underground Home Army were in action
throughout all Poland.    Further eastward the situation was more confused
since there were, in addition, parties of Ukrainians, and later Soviet
partisans for the Germans to contend with.   And apart from these, bands
of people, who either could not find, or did not wish to find, their metier
under German ruleódeserters from every army, Russian, German, and
from those twelve nations who had marched with Hitler into the Soviet
Union, Frenchmen escaped from prisoner-of-war camps, and Jews from
ghettos, even groups of ordinary bandits, were everywhere.    Still further
eastward Soviet guerilla forces were acting on Russian territories.    Soviet
propaganda was extensive regarding the achievements of these partisans.
In view of the circumstances, there appeared to be a great deal of ex-
aggeration attached to these reports.    Soviet White Ruthenia and the
Ukraine is mainly a flat country with just the forest to serve as a pro-
tection for any guerilla bands and these forces could only have stayed
in certain areas for a limited time.   Events proved that the Germans
were able to protect their rear sufficiently well enough to continue to get
supplies up to their front line as far as Volga.
The only conclusions which could be drawn were that these Soviet
guerilla forces must either have been very small in number, or else they
were not occupied in fighting against the Germans. Both conclusions
were, in effect, true as far as Poland was concerned. The Soviet partisans
who began to appear after the Stalingrad battle, wished to remain intact
until the arrival of their parent armies, and they were therefore avoiding
any encounter with the occupant. It was a form of armed neutrality
established between these forces and the Germans ; between the forces of
the invader from the West who ruled the country by terror, and the
spearhead of the other invader from the East, who anticipated an eventual
conquest of that country. Since the conceptions of the Polish Under-
ground and those of the Soviet partisans were entirely alien to one another,
clashes consequently occurred, particularly as the Soviet partisans, acting
at random in a terrain unknown to them, at first provoked the Germans
into many acts of revenge against the innocent inhabitants. Charges were
levelled on the part of the Kremlin that Polish troops had attacked the
partisans, but the Commander of the Home Army cleared the situation
in the autumn of 1943 when he issued an order of the day to the effect
that "all robber bands injuring the population were to be fought regardless
178